Professional Transport Services

Highway Code – Changes to rules on Motorway use

14 Sep 2021

Highway Code – Changes to rules on Motorway use

With effect from today, 14th September, changes to the highway code have been introduced on the use of motorways.  It is important to ensure you have checked the ‘Code’ to make sure you understand the changes, and that your colleagues have too. 

Changes to Rules on motorway use:

Rule 253

  • Provisional car licence holders can only use the motorway when accompanied by an approved driving instructor and in a car displaying red ‘L’ plates (D plates in Wales)

Rule 255 and 256

  • signs can apply to all or individual lanes, and the recognition of road signs

Rule 257

  • driving behaviour adjustment on approaching flashing amber lights and recognition of signage

Rule 258

  • display of flashing red light signals and the red ‘X’ identifying lane closure for hazards.  Road/lane closed when red flashing light signals and closure signs are shown
  • Lane closure signs and requirement to follow advanced instructions, blocking the lane may prevent assistance from getting to people in need of help
  • A closed left lane crossing a slip road, the exit cannot be used
  • Lane and road closures indicated by red flashing lights enforced by the Police

Rule 261

  • the speed limit indicated by signage, displayed, for type of road and vehicle must not be exceeded.  These are enforced by the Police

Rule 262

  • fitness to drive and taking breaks, rest areas and refreshment facilities available to use on motorways

Rule 26

  • reversing along any part of a motorway, including slip roads, hard shoulder and emergency areas is illegal

Rule 264

  • drivers move over, if safe to do so, when approaching people and vehicles stopped on the hard shoulder or emergency area to create more space

Rule 266

  • use of road markings as directions to some junctions

Rule 269

  • hard shoulders are for emergency use only. Hard shoulders used as an extra lane during congestion,  signs indicating their use. Speed limit shown for use
  • When hard shoulders are used as extra lanes during congestion there are emergency areas for use in event of breakdown or emergency

New Rule 270

  • emergency areas are located on motorways without hard shoulder or where hard shoulder is used at extra lane in times of congestion
  • Recognition of emergency areas and their use for emergencies only

Updated Rule 271

  • drivers must not stop in emergency areas on motorways, except in emergency

There are also changes covering road works, level crossings and tramways, traffic control light signals, traffic signs road users and the law, adverse weather conditions, waiting and parking, plus general rules for drivers, motorcyclists and other road users.

Always check the Highway Code for updates and changes to the rules.

Further information: